Zitat des Tages von Penelope Lively:
We all need a past - that's where our sense of identity comes from.
Deep down I have this atavistic feeling that really I should be in the country.
I can walk about London and see a society that seems an absolutely revolutionary change from the 1950s, that seems completely and utterly different, and then I can pick up on something where you suddenly see that it's not.
All I know for certain is that reading is of the most intense importance to me; if I were not able to read, to revisit old favorites and experiment with names new to me, I would be starved - probably too starved to go on writing myself.
We read Greek and Norse mythology until it came out of our ears. And the Bible.
Equally, we require a collective past - hence the endless reinterpretations of history, frequently to suit the perceptions of the present.
I have long been interested in landscape history, and when younger and more robust I used to do much tramping of the English landscape in search of ancient field systems, drove roads, indications of prehistoric settlement.
I'm not an historian and I'm not wanting to write about how I perceive the social change over the century as a historian, but as somebody who's walked through it and whose life has been dictated by it too, as all our lives are.
I'm writing another novel and I know what I'm going to do after, which may be something more like this again, maybe some strange mixture of fiction and non-fiction.
It seems to me that everything that happens to us is a disconcerting mix of choice and contingency.
It was a combination of an intense interest in children's literature, which I've always had, and the feeling that I'd just have a go and see if I could do it.
Getting to know someone else involves curiosity about where they have come from, who they are.
There's a preoccupation with memory and the operation of memory and a rather rapacious interest in history.
I'm not an historian but I can get interested - obsessively interested - with any aspect of the past, whether it's palaeontology or archaeology or the very recent past.
I didn't think I had anything particular to say, but I thought I might have something to say to children.
I didn't write anything until I was well over 30.
The consideration of change over the century is about loss, though I think that social change is gain rather than loss.
I'm intrigued by the way in which physical appearance can often direct a person's life; things happen differently for a beautiful woman than for a plain one.
You learn a lot, writing fiction.
Since then, I have just read and read - but, that said, I suppose there is a raft of writers to whom I return again and again, not so much because I want to write like them, even if I were capable of it, but simply for a sort of stylistic shot in the arm.
I've always been fascinated by the operation of memory - the way in which it is not linear but fragmented, and its ambivalence.
I do like to embed a fictional character firmly in an occupation.
We make choices but are constantly foiled by happenstance.
The present hardly exists, after all-it becomes the past even as it happens. A tricky medium, time - and central to the concerns of fiction.
I'm now an agnostic but I grew up on the King James version, which I'm eternally grateful for.
The pleasure of writing fiction is that you are always spotting some new approach, an alternative way of telling a story and manipulating characters; the novel is such a wonderfully flexible form.
I rather like getting away from fiction.
I didn't want it to be a book that made pronouncements.
Every novel generates its own climate, when you get going.
I have had to empty two family homes during the last few years - first, the house that had been my grandmother's since 1923, and then my own country home, which we had lived in for over twenty years.
Conventional forms of narrative allow for different points of view, but for this book I wanted a structure whereby each of the main characters contributed a distinctive version of the story.